A.J. McLean

Alexander James McLean (born January 9, 1978) is an American musician and member of the boy band Backstreet Boys. McLean is also a contributor for the It Gets Better Project.

Early life

McLean was born in West Palm Beach, Florida to Denise Fernandez and Bob McLean. His parents divorced and his father left the family when McLean was two, and he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents, Ursula and Adolph Fernandez. In 1990, he moved to Orlando, Florida with his mother to concentrate on his acting and singing career. After numerous auditions for various Nickelodeon and Disney projects, he landed a role in Nickelodeon's "Welcome Freshmen" and in a comedy series called "Hi Honey! I'm Home," where he played a character named Skunk. He also won a silver medal on "GUTS" in 1992.

Backstreet Boys

In 1992, McLean was recruited by producer Lou Pearlman to become a member of the Backstreet Boys. Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell were chosen as the other members of the band. The Backstreet Boys became one of the top-selling bands of their era, selling over 40 million albums in the U.S. and 90 million worldwide. AJ is one of the most popular members of the group, often being the one who finishes up the songs ('I Want It That Way', 'Shape Of my Heart', 'Drowning', 'Larger Than Life', 'Don't Wanna Lose You Now'), being the one who starts off some of them too ('Get Another Boyfriend', 'The Call', 'Incomplete' and humming in the intros of both 'I Want It That Way' and 'Drowning'). He's co-sung lead vocals in all of the boys' singles so far except for 'As Long As You Love Me' (although during the ad-libs at the end there are some line which are only by him) and 'Anywhere For You' .

In 2005 the 'Boys' released their 5th studio album, Never Gone which sold millions of copies within the first month. The group is supposed to release their next album in June 2007.

Personal life

This article has been tagged since January 2007.

McLean has been linked romantically with a number of women. At the age of sixteen, he began dating Marissa Jackson, daughter of Donna Wright, one of the group's managers. They dated for several years before breaking up in 1998. Soon after, Jackson wrote a tell-all book called "Loving AJ" about her relationship with McLean.

At the end of 1998, McLean began dating Amanda Latona, a former member of the all-girl group Innosense who previously had been involved with Chris Kirkpatrick and Rich Cronin. They were together until the end of 2000. He had a brief relationship with adult film star Karen Simpson before becoming involved with singer Sarah Martin in 2001. McLean and Martin met at a Los Angeles karaoke club in 2000. In the spring of 2002, they announced that they were engaged and planned to be married in February 2003. The couple called off the engagement after Martin discovered that McLean had sex with an Alcoholics Anonymous confidante.

In october 2005, he started dating young singer Kaci Brown (only 17 years old at the time), who he met when she was the opening act for the Backstreet Boys on the US leg of the Never Gone tour. They decided to part ways in August of 2006. Kaci blamed AJ's fans for the reason of their breakup.

McLean married Rochelle Deanna Karidis, whom he credits for helping him overcome his addiction, on December 17, 2011, in Beverly Hills, California. The rest of the Backstreet Boys, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson were in attendance. On November 27, 2012, the couple welcomed their first child, a daughter named Ava Jaymes McLean.

Substance abuse issues

Rising to fame in his early teens, McLean became known as the "bad boy" of the group. In 2001, the other band members reportedly became distressed by AJ's self-destructive behavior. Following an intervention, McLean entered rehab for alcoholism and drug abuse. His mother, Denise McLean, later authored the book Backstreet Mom, describing AJ's life before, during, and after rehab. In December 2003, McLean and his mother appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to talk about his recovery from depression, alcoholism, and drug use. Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough and Nick Carter surprised McLean by appearing on the show to talk about their experiences with his addictions and to offer their support for his rehabilitation. This was the first time all five Backstreet Boys had appeared together in public in almost two years.

The band reunited for a world tour in 2004 and released a comeback album entitled "Never Gone" on June 14, 2005.

Alter ego

McLean created a character, who he named Johnny No Name, to use as his alter ego. He uses it as his name when not performing with other members of the Backstreet Boys. The character has similarities to McLean; for instance, both had single mothers, and lived with their grandparents from a young age. There are also differences - Johnny has been to prison whereas AJ has not. McLean has occasionally performed in rock/metal clubs around New York under his alter ego, Johnny No Name. He established a foundation called the JNN Foundation to raise funds for diabetes research and other causes like keeping music programs into schools.

Originally McLean's alter ego was named Johnny Suede. It shared its name with a character played by Brad Pitt and when the studio threatened to sue McLean, he changed the name to Johnny No Name.

McLean has appeared in animated show called Static Shock on the Kids WB/Cartoon Network channel as himself. He finished second in the Nickelodeon GUTS contest

Have It All

In March 2008, McLean performed his first two solo shows (as himself) at the Anaheim House of Blues and The Roxy in Los Angeles. The show consisted of his solo material and a solo version of the Backstreet Boys hit, "Incomplete". The solo tour continued through Europe in May and June, in parallel to Backstreet Boys tour. While creating his solo project, McLean worked with theOneRepublic vocalist Ryan Tedder, producers Dan Muckala and Kristian Lundin, plus the former 'N Sync member, JC Chasez. On January 20, 2010, Have It All, was released in Japan. He confirmed on the Backstreet Boys cruise in December 2010 that the US version would be released on February 8, 2011.

As of June 2012, McLean is working on his 2nd solo album. He also posted two of his new songs on Socialcam on July 23, 2012, titled "Peach" and "P.L.A.R.S."


On May 22, 2013, a Finnish rapper Redrama released a single "Clouds" featuring McLean. It is currently available on iTunes Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the U.S.

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